March 21, 2023

Roya Zendebudie’s hybrid, experimental flash fiction piece “Eye, آی” incorporates multiple languages and genres in its exploration of communication, meaning, and experience. An excerpt of the story’s beginning is included below. Read the full piece in SAND 25


Look at
the word  چشم  how
it resembles the eye
how it curves and tears, then slides
down, dead

Hold it in your hand, the word, and what it is, turn it around, چشم.

It’s not a word but the performance of a word, of what it wants to be but fails, a failure so intense it bursts the word wide open: the curve, barely begun, erupts and melts into points—light points, rain drops: three up, three down. It slides, it falls. It’s the vision of an eye, raw, open, slashed. Flooded into, rained on. Tromped and thrashed.

It’s dead, which almost means it’s alive.

Mein Gott, ich habe kein Dach über mir, und es regnet mir in die Augen.

Eye, I, Eye, I.

چشم holds two meanings in persian, eye and yes, I will obey.

The latter, unlike the english eye, is not an I but a negation of an I, an erasure of self for the sake of the other. The sound of eye for persian speakers is an interjection, used reflexively when the speaker is hurt; it’s a vocalized pain.

Aye, Aye, Captain.

Continue reading the full story in SAND 25.


  • آی is pronounced the same as eye or aye.
  • چشم is pronounced chashm or ČAŠM.
  • German text quoted from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge. Translation: “My God, I have no roof over me, and it is raining in my eyes.”

Roya Zendebudie is an MA student of English Studies: Literature, Language, Culture at Freie Universität Berlin. Her previous work has been published in Tint Journal. 


Eye, آی by Roya Zendebudie Read More »

Esther Heller’s creative nonfiction piece “Points of Memory” threads together the available pieces of Esther’s mother’s life as a radical act of preservation and resistance to racism. Overlapping images of personal artifacts and news reports combine with poetry and prose “to vocalise a memory to understanding.” An excerpt of the piece’s beginning is included below. Read the full piece in SAND 25


My mother always knew that it was important to tell her story through writing, note-taking, doodles, oral stories. As a Kenyan woman living in Germany, she knew that she could not rely on history to plot her story for her without erasing all the points of history that she had touched. Most of the things that I know about my mother were told to me by other people.

My mother…a nurse, a Black woman working at the flea market, hair braider, postal worker, cook, dancer, party planner, an aspiring painter, a singer at weddings… 

Nakupenda Malaika
Nakupenda Malaika

When my mother was twelve years old she was adopted by a vacationing German couple—who saw her working as a hair braider on the beach.

She loved to dance and would often go out on her own. One of her friends, whom I call Uncle, told me once while we were dancing at a family gathering that my Mama could not be taken out of her element when she was dancing. Everyone in the club knew that. Those who did not would try to approach her, but the DJ would shake his head and say, Hey man you have no chance, she dances on her own.

She always made time to jot down notes, to document moments of her Black life. It was an act of self-preservation, a way for her to tell her story, and to pass it on to her children and others. Many of our Polaroids have notes scribbled on them, like one picture of my younger brother sitting beside a radio that reads My Son loves that Radio.

Her desire to document her life and our lives was important then as it is important now [she had to, she knew ] 
There is no data [she had to, she knew ] 
Katharina Oguntoye, May Ayim, Raja Lubinetzki, and others told their stories through poetry, art, traced history [they had to, they knew ]   

Continue reading the full piece in SAND 25.

Esther Heller (they/she) is a Kenyan-German poet, writer, and experimental filmmaker. They are a Barbican Young Poet 18/19, Obsidian Foundation fellow, and Ledbury Critic. She co-hosts a monthly radio show called Poetic Healing with Zen & Kondo on THF Radio Berlin and is currently doing an MFA in Poetry at Cornell University. 


Points of Memory by Esther Heller Read More »


Down at the mantı place,
near the beach, two gold
rimmed plates of garlic
yoğurt marbled with
tomato olive oil, red
pepper flakes, and dried
mint hiding a constellation
of hot dough, are set on
the blue, plaid tablecloth
that almost matches your
shirt, as chrysanthemums
reach out of the stained
glass vase at the centre
to cover half of your face.


Bikini briefs hanging from the bathtub faucet like some tired fruit dripping nectar.

Gamze S. Saymaz is a Berlin-based poet and video artist originally from Istanbul. She was awarded a BA in psychology and in English literature from Yeditepe Universitesi. She is now pursuing an MA at Freie Universitat Berlin with a focus on film. Her work has been published in Bosphorus Review of Books, FU Review, and Tint Journal. Her shorts have been shown at Studio H, Komsu Kafe Collective, KargART, and most recently online in collaboration with the performance art platform Body in Perform. Gamze is currently an editor for FU Review Berlin, makes personal documentaries on vulnerability, and watches horror movies. Read more poetry in SAND 25.


APRÈS-SOLEIL by Gamze S. Saymaz Read More »